Xbee 900 mhz rpsma HELP!

I recently bought two of theses 900mhz rpsma xbee's from sparkfun. Im using them on my arduinos with xbee shields. However i cant quite get them to work properly. I have written code so that whatever the arduino see's in its serial monitor it sends right back out. So like this i can type stuff in x-ctu's terminal and have whatever i say mirror back. AND this WORKED. But the problem is the xbee's only communicate RIGHT infront of eachother, almost touching, and if i send a package (string) sometimes it mirros differently eg. i send "hello" ill get back "helo" or "hllo"

I have both on same baud rate and pan id.

Could the problem be that neither of the xbee's have an antenna attached or is it something else?

Please help i have looked everywhere for answers and with no result. Thanks in advance !!! :)